1. Sri Lanka is a country with a per capita income of approximately US$2,000, and a population of around 20 million people. Basic human development levels are high, with a primary education completion rate of over 95 percent, a literacy rate of 93 percent, and life expectancy of 75 years. There is also a substantial degree of gender parity with Sri Lanka ranking high among developing countries in terms of gender development and gender empowerment. The higher education sector has about 390,000 students enrolled. There are 15 universities, 12 Advanced Technological Institutes (ATIs), about 12 private institutes offering degrees of foreign universities, and a number of private alternative higher education institutions offering diploma and certificate level professional qualifications.
2. Sri Lanka is poised to emerge from a country in conflict (CIC) to a country in peace (CIP). The nation is just emerging from a long period of armed secessionist conflict along ethnic lines. In this context, the country needs to develop a favorable climate for a vibrant multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy. The higher education sector can play a central role in helping the transition to a country in lasting peace through the promotion of democratic values, respect for diversity, and the celebration of multiple cultures, through the scholarship, teaching and research of the universities.